Player Development

Explaining Trace Soccer Camera System to a Youth Soccer Team

Video Manager for Virginia Rush explains the value of Trace to his 02/03 Boys team

by Dave Shepheard

Virginia Rush 02/03 Boys Video Manager

Ok, you have all heard us talk about Trace Soccer a lot the last few weeks as we’ve decided to make it a part of our team.  I’m going to give you a quick overview of the system and how we will use it, and then we’ll talk more after the first game is available on Trace and review what you can do with it. 

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First off, what is Trace?

Trace is a soccer analysis system that is going to make you better soccer players and a better team.

Let me see that again for emphasis; Trace WILL make you better soccer players and a better team. 

I’m going to break all of this down for you. 

Trace uses two cameras, so it sees the whole field for the entire game. You can’t hide from Trace. It covers from touchline to touchline, byline to byline, and everything in between. You’ve all seen Lord of the Rings? Well, when I extend the tripod on this thing, it’s like the soccer equivalent of The Eye of Sauron. But it’s got two eyes, which is twice as good. Make a great play? Trace is going to see it. You hang your head and pout after somebody doesn’t play you a through-ball instead of getting back to defend? Ditto. Dispute a call with a ref? Trace is always watching. Take a cheap shot on somebody off the ball? You’re on candid camera. Remember that. 

Each of you is going to wear a sensor in your sock. It’s called a Tracer. The Trace sends position data on where you are on the field back to Trace. It knows where you are and what you are doing. It tracks your touches, passes, shots, defending. Good and bad, it tracks it all. It knows a lot of things. It even knows if you stayed up all night binging on Netflix.  That’s right; Trace tracks how far you run and how fast. How hard you work, and whether you slow down in the middle of the half.  If you stay up late before game night or don’t prepare your body correctly, Trace will know.  This little Tracer in your sock is very powerful. It exposes everything good and bad. So continuing with the Lords of the Rings analogy, when you put this in your sock, it’s like Frodo putting on the one ring. You need to make the most of every second while wearing the ring…I mean Tracer in your sock. 

Let’s talk about Artificial Intelligence. After that game, TRACE_BOT (the smart part of the Smart Camera) mashes together all of that Eye of Sauron data with Frodo’s ring data and starts to analyze the game. How much possession did we have? Were we productive in possession by stringing together attacking passing chains? Did we maintain our shape and defend in an organized fashion? So where the Tracers help tell us did we play HARD, TRACE_BOT helps us figure out did we play SMART. If you want to play hard and try to trick the system, go out there and just run like crazy. Everyone trying to get the ball and not organizing defensively. Playing at one speed and not adjusting the pace of play to the situation. Where everybody wants the ball all the time, and once you have it, you’re not giving it to anyone else unless they come and take it. That’s called U6 ant hill soccer, and Trace doesn’t want to see that. 

But if you want Trace to see you not just playing hard but playing smart, do all the things coach has been telling you in practice. Spread wide, building out of the back, don’t force the ball into cover–know what your options are before you receive the ball, check your shoulder and communicate with teammates, attack the space behind their backs on the wings. Combine quickly in the final third. Possession is precious…my precious…. That’s what TRACE_BOT wants to see, and it won’t just show up in the stats, but on the scoreboard.  

Trace is subscription-based, we are “renting” this service but don’t own the equipment (which is a great way to increase tech valuations, but that’s a life lesson for another day). So take care of it. Please don’t break it. Don’t lose your Tracer (a quick word from the Trace team; if you lose or break your Tracer in regular gameplay, we’ll replace it for no charge, now back to Dave). It works out to less than $10/ per person per game. That gets me out of the videoing and highlight clipping business. You’ll get your highlights captured as “moments” and every touch you make on the ball. Coach will be able to send out moments and notes (because a picture says a 1000 words, but a video says a lot more). If you want, you can organize your best moments with Trace iD and send them to college coaches. 

You put all of this together, and it’s a pretty sweet deal. The two cameras. The GPS Tracers. TRACE_BOT. The subscription-based highlights and game analysis. It’s all super cool. But all of that cool stuff isn’t going to make you a better soccer player or make you guys a better team. 

“Coach, you started by telling us that it would make us a better player and team!”

That’s right, and that’s because it needs one more thing for you to unlock it all. It needs you. If you use it, if you assess your performance honestly and don’t just look for the highlights to post to Instagram. If you start to take lessons from the games and build it into your training. Then, take concepts from training and execute them on game day, you will become better soccer players, and you will become a better team.

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So that’s it. Who’s ready?

Alright, here’s how you use Trace.

  • The Tracer calf sleeve is now part of your official team uniform. If you don’t bring your Tracer sleeve, you don’t play. 
  • 10 minutes before game time, you guys start coming over one by one and grab your Tracer. Put the Tracer in the sleeve. Put the sleeve on your dominant leg around your calf and cover the sleeve and Tracer with your sock. 
  • When you are on the field, play like you’re wearing Frodo’s ring. Whether you play 10 minutes a half or 45 minutes, make the most of every second on the field and play the game with integrity. 
  • After the game, put your Tracer back in the Trace Case. Keep your smelly sweaty sleeve. 
  • I will upload the game data after every game, and we should have game analysis 2-3 days max.

That’s it. Any questions? 

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